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Workers' Compensation

Goldsboro Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Getting hurt on the job or suffering a work-related illness can be a scary experience. This is especially true if your injury or illness requires extensive medical treatment and keeps you from going back to work and earning the wages that you and your family need to survive.

If you find yourself in this situation, you should learn more about your right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Most employees throughout North Carolina are eligible to receive these benefits.

Workers’ compensation benefits can cover your medical expenses. They can also replace most — but not all — of your lost wages. Depending on how your injury or illness arose, you may also be able to pursue a personal injury claim and recover additional compensation.

The Goldsboro workers’ compensation lawyers of Strickland Agner Pittman are passionate about protecting the rights of injured and ill workers and their families. Our goal is to help them to overcome their challenges.

We would welcome the opportunity to review your case. Call us today at (919) 893-0090 or reach us online for a free consultation. We can discuss how we can help you pursue the benefits and compensation you deserve.

Workers' Compensation Laws in North Carolina

Workers' compensation laws in North Carolina provide benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. The law aims to protect workers by providing them with financial assistance and medical benefits without having to prove fault.

Most employers in North Carolina are required to provide workers' compensation insurance coverage for their employees. This coverage applies to both full-time and part-time workers.

Workers' compensation benefits cover injuries or illnesses that occur in the course of employment. This includes injuries from accidents, occupational diseases, or conditions aggravated by work duties.

To receive workers' compensation benefits, an employee must report their injury or illness to their employer as soon as possible. They must also file a formal claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission within a certain timeframe.

Disputes regarding workers' compensation claims may arise, such as disputes over the extent of the injury, the need for certain medical treatment, or the eligibility for benefits. These disputes are typically resolved through informal negotiation, mediation, or formal hearings before the Industrial Commission.

What Should You Do If You Are Hurt at Work?

Accidents can happen in any workplace. They can occur at a construction site, factory, landscaping site, or even an office. 

The most common accidents tend to be:

  • Falls from heights
  • Slip-and-falls
  • Getting struck by objects
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Getting caught in machinery
  • Overexertion while lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying an object

Workers can suffer serious back strains, fractures, knee and head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries in these accidents.

If you have been hurt in a work-related accident, you should take these three basic steps to protect your health and your legal rights:

  • Get medical treatment as soon as possible. Go to the health care provider at your job site or the provider designated by your employer. If your employer has not designated a health care provider, you can go to your family doctor or emergency room. Make sure to tell the clinic or hospital that your injury was work-related.
  • Report your injury to your employer orally and in writing. Tell a manager, supervisor, foreman or human resources officer. If you cannot do it yourself, ask a co-worker, family member, or friend to report it. Within 30 days, you must report the accident in writing to your employer. State the date of the accident and briefly describe the injury. If you fail to do so, you can lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
  • File your workers’ compensation claim, or Form 18.

Your employer should help you file this form with the NC Industrial Commission (NCIC). After you file this form, your employer (or its workers’ compensation insurer) files a different form (Form 19) with the NCIC. If your employer fails to help you or to file a Form 19, you can file a Form 18 on your own. You must file it with the NCIC within two years of your accident.

If you find that your employer or its insurer is refusing to help you or to take mandatory steps concerning your claim, contact an attorney from Strickland Agner Pittman right away.

What Can You Do If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?

Unfortunately, some employers or their insurers may challenge a worker’s right to benefits. 

Disputes commonly arise concerning:

  • Failure to Report the Injury Timely: If an employee fails to report their work-related injury or illness to their employer within the required timeframe, it could lead to denial of the claim. Most states, including North Carolina, have specific deadlines for reporting workplace injuries or illnesses.
  • Dispute over Work-Relatedness: One of the primary requirements for a workers' compensation claim is that the injury or illness must be work-related. If the employer or insurance carrier disputes whether the injury or illness occurred as a result of work-related activities, the claim may be denied. For example, if the injury occurred outside of work hours or while engaging in non-work-related activities, the claim might be challenged.
  • Pre-existing Conditions: If an employee has a pre-existing medical condition that is unrelated to their work but is aggravated by a work-related injury, there may be disputes over the extent to which the employer is responsible for providing benefits. In some cases, the claim may be denied if the employer can demonstrate that the pre-existing condition is the primary cause of the injury or disability.
  • Inadequate Medical Documentation: Insufficient or inconsistent medical documentation can lead to a denial of the claim. This may include incomplete medical records, lack of documentation linking the injury to work-related activities, or conflicting medical opinions regarding the severity or cause of the injury.
  • Violation of Employer Policies or Procedures: If an employee's injury occurred while violating company policies or engaging in misconduct, such as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the claim may be denied. Similarly, if the injury resulted from horseplay or intentional self-harm, it may not be considered compensable.
  • Choice of Doctor or Treatment: In some states, including North Carolina, employers may have the right to direct an injured employee's medical care for the initial treatment of a work-related injury. If an employee seeks treatment from a healthcare provider not authorized by the employer or the workers' compensation insurance carrier, it could result in denial of the claim. However, employees typically have the right to request a second opinion or choose their own doctor for ongoing treatment after the initial evaluation.
  • Disputes over Extent of Impairment: The determination of the extent of impairment suffered by the worker is crucial in assessing the appropriate level of benefits. Disputes may arise if there are conflicting medical opinions regarding the severity of the impairment or the degree of disability.
  • Statutory Limitations: Workers' compensation laws have specific statutory limitations and requirements that must be met for a claim to be eligible for benefits. Failure to meet these requirements, such as missing filing deadlines or exceeding the statute of limitations, can result in denial of the claim.

If you are a worker whose claim was denied by an employer or insurer, or if you disagree with any other aspect of your claim, you have a right to file an appeal with the NCIC. 

An appeal typically involves:

  • Mediation: Informal discussions that are aimed at reaching a settlement of your workers’ compensation claim
  • Deputy commissioner hearing: A formal hearing that is held at a county level
  • Full commission hearing: If you appeal the Deputy Commissioner’s ruling, you can seek a hearing before the NCIC Chair and full six-Commissioner panel
  • Appellate courts: If needed, you can continue to appeal to the Court of Appeals and North Carolina Supreme Court. An appeal can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years to resolve.

Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Goldsboro

You owe it to yourself and your family to seek workers’ compensation benefits. If you have suffered an on-the-job injury or occupational disease, contact Strickland Agner Pittman right away. We will make sure your rights are fully protected. 

Call (919) 893-0090 or connect with us online today.

What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can You Receive?

If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may be eligible to receive a wide range of benefits. They can play a key role in your recovery. 

These benefits include:

Medical Benefits

All your medical expenses should be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. You pay no deductible. These benefits can cover your emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation. However, you must get treatment from the health care provider approved by your employer. You can only change doctors if your employer or the NCIC permits it. You can also be reimbursed for medical-related travel.

Lost Wage Benefits

If your injury or illness keeps you from working for seven days or longer, you can receive up to 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage — or no more than $944 per week. When you are medically determined to be able to return to work, your right to receive these benefits ends, even if you decide to stay out of work.

Permanent Total or Partial Disability Benefits

If you have suffered total loss or partial loss of use of a body part, or if you can no longer earn what you did before your injury or illness, you can receive permanent disability benefits. A doctor will determine whether you have reached maximum medical improvement and assign an impairment rating to you. This rating will determine how much you are eligible to receive in weekly lost wage benefits.

Death Benefits

If a worker dies within six years after suffering a work-related injury or illness, or within two years from the final determination of a disability, the worker’s surviving family members may receive death benefits. These benefits are paid for up to 400 weeks, in most cases. They are the same amount the worker would have received if he or she survived.

How Can a Lawyer Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The Goldsboro workers’ compensation attorneys of Strickland Agner Pittman can provide a full range of services to you after you have been hurt or become ill on the job. 

These services include:

  • Helping you to file a Form 18 and all other required paperwork with the NCIC 
  • Dealing directly with your employer or its insurer to resolve your claim, whether through informal talks or mediated conferences
  • Gathering medical evidence and presenting your case before the Deputy Commissioner
  • Representing you in an appeal to the Full Commission or subsequent stages of appeal in the state’s appellate courts
  • Pursuing options you may have beyond workers’ compensation benefits, including filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a non-employer who may have caused the injury or death

While your case is pending, we can help you to get the medical treatment that you need to keep your physical and emotional recovery on track. We will not charge fees unless you recover the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.

Contact Strickland Agner Pittman Today


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